Director of News Operations, Local Media, Univision
Christine Portela is Director of News Operations, Local Media, for Univision. A former Senior Producer at MSNBC, she is on the National Advisory Board for The Poynter Institute.
I think that it’s definitely changing, but when it comes to local news ... people are still watching us live, right? So our big money maker is still ads during our newscast. We’ve dabbled in digital revenue, whether it’s ads for our website, and we recently launched apps in all of our markets, which is something that the industry has been doing for a long time.
It’s very much like back to basics, like beat reporting, which I think is easy to forget about when you’re just trying to be competitive and chase the sexiest story. But sometimes it’s something as simple as this community is really concerned about X, Y and Z, and we found out about it because they were talking about it on a Facebook group, or they were talking about it on the Nextdoor app or they were talking about it in their community.
To me, local has always been the people who know what it’s like to live in my community. There’s a connection to the person on screen to the type of reporting that’s happening. Like I’m not tuning in to find out what’s happening around the world; I’m tuning in to find out what’s happening down the street from me.
For example, during Hurricane Harvey, I was working with our Houston station, and there were people who were calling the Univision local station before they were calling the police, before they were calling the first responders. Because to them, they see Univision as the organization and as the brand that is there to help them.